class warfare

Yes, millionaires pay more in taxes than the middle class

President Barack Obama’s proposed tax hikes have, thankfully, been a flop on the Hill as Republicans and some Democrats aren’t too anxious to raise taxes during tough economic times; a position the president himself once held.

But with the rhetoric coming from the left that is clearly hoping to revive the populist sentiment to put Obama in the White House comes a dose of reality. Despite the ramblings of Obama and his ally Warren Buffett, millionaires do indeed pay more in taxes than the middle class, according to an Associated Press fact check:

On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

The 10% of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70% of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that’s less than 1% of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.

This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average 29.1% of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes, payroll taxes and other taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15% of their income in federal taxes.

Small businesses not confident in the economy

According to a new report from the National Federation for Independent Business, small businesses owners’ confidence in the economy has dropped:

Confidence among U.S. small businesses dropped to a 13-month low in August as fewer companies projected better economic conditions and improving sales, a private survey found.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index decreased to 88.1, the weakest reading since July 2010 and the sixth-consecutive decline, from 89.9 in July. The number of small-business owners saying they expected the economy will improve six months from now fell to the lowest level since 1980.

“Hope for improvement in the economy faded even further through the month,” William Dunkelberg, the group’s chief economist, said in a statement accompanying the index report. “With such a dim outlook, owners are not going to do a lot of hiring or expanding.”

Small-business owners have grown less confident that conditions will improve as stagnant job growth weighs on consumer sentiment. Households “uncertain about the future” won’t “engage in the spending that would help lead us out of the recession,” Dunkelberg said.

Six of the index’s 10 components decreased. The gauge of expectations for better business conditions six months from now led the decline, falling 11 points to a net minus 26 percent in August. The drop brought business assessment of the economy to the lowest level since the second quarter of 1980, when the measure fell to minus 37, according to Dunkelberg.

Warren Buffett’s tax idea would cover a week of spending

Looks like Warren Buffett’s pitch to raise taxes on the rich isn’t all that good of an idea; in fact, the tax hike would cover about a week’s worth of federal spending:

Warren Buffett is known as the Sage of Omaha for a good reason: his outstanding ability to find profitable investments that took him from a small portfolio owner to one of the richest people in the world.

Recently, he used his formidable reputation to suggest in the New York Times, Financial Post and an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS that the U.S. government should raise taxes on the 400 super-rich, who in 2008 together earned $90.9 billion and paid only on average 21.5 percent of it in taxes. That is lower than the average percentage paid by most middle-income Americans.

Buffett justifies his proposal on the grounds that the present tax system is unfair, parroting the mantra of tax-addicted interventionists and socialists everywhere. He said “It will not be pretty” in response to Rose’s question about what he thinks would happen in the United States if the present unfairness continues and unemployment remains high. What does he mean? Will there be riots in the streets or the proletariat rising to shed its shackles?

Conservatives revolt against John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner is continuing to push a proposal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and cut around $1 trillion in spending. But despite support from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (who lobbied his caucus hard) and Rep. Paul Ryan, Boehner is getting no help from conservatives in his caucus, grassroots and advocacy organizations or think tanks. Republican Senators have also panned the proposal.

Boehner was able to get support from Jennifer Rubin (WaPo’s conservative blogger) and James Pethokoukis, who often advocates for less taxes and regulation at his Reuters blog.

Obama, Boehner lob shots at each other in dueling press conferences

If you were looking for an agreement on the debt ceiling stalemate to happen on Monday, you were no doubt disappointed. House Republicans are, as they were over the weekend, pushing for a short-term extension in the debt ceiling with $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Much like “Cut, Cap and Balance,” Boehner’s proposal doesn’t directly deal with entitlements. It merely creates a committee that would eventually produce a proposal for reform, which will be given an up or down vote. Committees on spending never really cutting much of anything, so skepticism there is justified.

The White House has rejected the short-term approach. Republicans say that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to deal with this fight again before the 2012 election.

From each according to their ability…

President Obama wants your money.  Not exactly a groundbreaking revelation, I’m sure.  However, in recent comments, he seems to feel that if you have more money than you need, and someone else has a perceived “need”, then he should be just fine taking that money and giving it to that person.  Mike Brownfield, like myself, seems to not be in complete agreement with the President on this one:

Over the past several weeks, America has seen on grand display in Washington a singular mindset emanating from the White House: We must raise taxes so that we can keep on spending. This week, though, America was treated to something different—a glimpse inside President Barack Obama’s mind, a roadmap of his economic worldview. And what was revealed was a philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with America’s job creators.

That insight came during the President’s press conference on Monday in which he broached the subject of raising taxes as part of the debt limit deal:

And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.

Cartoon of the Day: Obama’s class warfare

Via Dan Mitchell comes this funny cartoon that really sums up President Barack Obama’s argument for tax hikes considering that more than half of Americans pay no federal income taxes:

Obama class warfare

Quit saying the rich aren’t contributing

It’s easy to pick on the rich.  There really aren’t that many of them for one thing, and since they’re not considered a minority they aren’t granted the protected status that decency gives to other minority groups.  They’re still fair game, and it seems like a lot of people are taking advantage of that fact.  Now, a vote in the Senate designed to put Republicans in a corner is being a bit misrepresented by the pundits.

For example, from the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent:

So it’s come to this. Republican opposition to any kind of revenue increase as part of the deficit deal has grown so implacable that Dems will now hold a Senate vote tomorrow on the basic idea that millionaires and billionaires should help contribute to fixing our deficit.

It’s not a vote on any specific proposal to hike taxes or end tax breaks. Rather, it’s a vote that puts each Senator on record on the general question of whether the rich should sacrifice in sevice of deficit reduction.

[Bold emphasis is mine]

What’s the problem with this one?  Simple…the rich already “sacrifice in service of debt reduction”.  They pay taxes.  In fact, they pay a significant percentage of the taxes paid by Americans.  They sacrifice already, but you wouldn’t get that with comments like that, would you?

The truth is, Sargent should know better.  Later on in the same piece:

Marco Rubio on Barack Obama’s use of class warfare

After President Barack Obama’s class warfare rant last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took to the lectern in the Senate and denounced the divisive rhetoric used and explained the opportunity before members of Congress should be used to reform the tax code to make America more prosperous; not punish people for success:

H/T: Dan Mitchell

Obama once again resorts to class warfare to pressure GOP

During a press conference yesterday, President Barack Obama stressed the importance of raising the debt ceiling - the statutory limit on the national debt - by the August 2nd deadline and repeating the same tired class warfare rhetoric that we’ve become familiar with since he arrived on the national scene:

In his first full-scale news conference since March, the president insisted that Democrats had compromised in private talks by agreeing to billions of dollars in budget cuts that would hurt their voters. But, he said, Republicans were refusing to bend by not agreeing to eliminate tax breaks to owners of corporate jets and profit-rich oil companies. If Republicans get their way, Obama said, the end result would be unbalanced deal that lifts the debt limit but forces the government to make deeper-than-necessary cuts.

“If we do not have revenues, that means there are a bunch of kids out there who do not have college scholarships,” Obama said. ”[It] might compromise the National Weather Services. It means we might not be funding critical medical research. It means food inspection might be compromised. I’ve said to Republican leaders, ‘You go talk to your constituents and ask them, “Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?”

Just in case any viewer missed his class-clashing message, Obama referred to corporate-jet owners at least three more times before he took his second question.

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